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Mar 10, 2016

Y.E.S. Explores Ending Violence Against Children

Every day and in many forms, children endure acts of violence. The lack of awareness of the epidemic is a huge concern for agencies that want to build the confidence of the violated children.    This morning, the Youth Enhancement Services concluded a training workshop aimed at putting an end to violence against children; in particular sexual violence.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Day-two of a tool-kit training for ending violence against children concluded today at the ITVET Compound in Belize City. It is a collaborative effort by the Youth Enhancement Services and UNICEF to provide teachers, social workers and service providers with standardized information and techniques to end violence against children.

 

Karen Cain

Karen Cain, Director, Youth Enhancement Services

“We have developed a tool kit which is something a little bit fancier or bigger than a manual and it has on all our power points and lessons on how we go about conducting training with parents, with teachers, with children—all stakeholders. And today we have here at ITVET, all our partners in child protection businesses: TIDE and Plenty Belize from Toledo. We have Power from Stann Creek along with UNABABA and in Belize we have YES, of course and we have been doing it forever and we also have CDF, which is the Child Development Foundation and Special Olympics. And so we believe that in providing us with the training today gives us the tool for us to be on the same page.”

 

There have been several campaigns encouraging victims of child abuse to come forward and report crimes and the statistics are damning. The range of violence against children is wide; it includes sexual crimes, physical abuse, verbal abuse and even bullying

 

Karen Cain

“We know that there is a lot of this that is going unreported. And when I say unreported it is not just sexual violence that are going unreported, but the physical violence that children are going through. Children are beaten, thrown down, slapped; their fingers are put in fire and all of that sort of thing. And then we look at the other extreme where we see girls who are being raped on a daily basis; incest has always been there lurking in the background.”

 

One partner agency, the Child Development Foundation, focuses primarily on child abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. CDF targets stakeholders in the south.

 

Telesha McKay

Telesha McKay, Child Development Foundation

“We target schools and communities, parents and teachers to bring a holistic understanding of what these issues are, how they impact our schools or young people or even our communities and it leads to a bigger scale and how it will impact our country. So we bring awareness and counseling at our foundation. We try to build the self-esteem of students and kids to know that they are able to say no and that they have a right to be protected, to be free and to not have to worry about perpetrators in Belize.”

 

According to international statistics, three out of every five child are abused and key to tackling the issue of violence against children is building confidence. One suggestion is to see the inclusion of student counselors in the education system.

 

Aphane Avila

Aphane Avila, Punta Gorda Town Council

“There isn’t anything in place in the schools, especially primary schools where students, children, can actually get help. I think that within the primary school system, there needs to be more school counseling. That’s something that I hope soon will be in place here in our country because in Belize you can’t get educated as a school counselor.”

 

Telesha McKay

“If you are in a classroom of thirty-five…more than half of those students are going through some form of abuse and that’s here in Belize and in other parts of the country. So, we are trying to lower that statistics in Belize because we know that statistics also shows that the abused become abusers. So if these children are being abused from small, we have to find a way how to—for a lack of better term—rectify the damage that has been done to create a very positive environment.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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